End Zone Remains Elusive
Sunday, December 19, 2004; Page E10
Wide receiver Rod Gardner awoke from a 10-game slumber, catching six balls for 111 yards, including a diving 39-yard reception in the second quarter. Gardner had a career-best 10 catches (for 167 yards) against Dallas in the third game of the season, then went silent. He did not go over 41 yards in the past 10 games, had not caught more than four balls in a game in that span, either, and his longest reception was 18 yards.
Washington's defense allowed 254 yards, and thus will likely be ranked second to Pittsburgh again when Week 15 is complete. . . . Prior to Antonio Pierce's 78-yard interception return, the Redskins did not have a defensive touchdown since the final game of the 2002 season, when linebacker LaVar Arrington recovered a fumble for a touchdown in a 20-14 victory over Dallas, a span of 29 games. More than 100 defensive touchdowns were scored in the NFL in the interim. Prior to the score, Washington had an apparent interception return for a touchdown reversed because of a forward lateral and Ron Warner returned an interception to the 9. . . . After being fined a collective $30,000 for wearing their socks illegally in the past two games, safety Sean Taylor and Portis were within NFL regulations Saturday. . . . Wide receiver Darnerien McCants was inactive for the first time in six weeks after spending the first half of the season as a spectator primarily because of lack of special teams acumen. Antonio Brown, inactive since being signed Nov. 11, took McCants's spot and served as punt returner, with receiver James Thrash, the normal returner, used more in the offense. Taylor Jacobs replaced McCants in the team's goal-line package as the lone receiver. Kicker Jeff Chandler made his season debut and was 4 for 4 on field goals, including a 49-yarder. . . . Penalties and lack of discipline remained a problem for Washington, as did miscues on special teams. "Special teams today was a little bit hit or miss," Gibbs said. Fred Smoot's illegal use of hands penalty away from the ball gave San Francisco a first down when it would have had to punt, and the 49ers went on to score a touchdown on that drive. Offsides and illegal blocking penalties again hurt the special teams units, and the Redskins allowed a blocked punt in the end zone for a safety. . . . Offensive lineman Vaughn Parker, who was signed Oct. 25, was inactive again and has yet to play this season. . . . Offensive lineman Dan Goodspeed, signed after working out at Redskins Park last week, was inactive, as was defensive lineman Cedric Killings, who was recently signed.